White Christmas

Blue Xmas 1

When you have an eating disorder, the holidays present a Halloween-to-New Year’s obstacle course.

Now I’m facing a barrage of Christmas brunches, lunches and parties. My strategy is to avoid, bring healthy choices or order from the lite menu. If I bake, give it away. I’m also drinking more water and increasing workouts. That helps with seasonal depression, too.

To cut down on stress, I’ve minimized decorating. Outside are the “Blue Christmas” decorations, greens, and a few lights. Inside is the Nativity, a single candle to light daily, and a few ornaments placed on shelves or hung from light fixtures. For the second year we are going treeless.

I’ve also minimized shopping, other than for greeting cards, presents for a 14-year-old whose tag we pulled from the Salvation Army Angel tree, and mailed gifts for family.

The focus is on joy. Curtis played St. Nicholas at church. Our book club is discussing Fannie Flagg’s “Red Bird Christmas” and Margaret Maron’s “Christmas Mourning.” I bought tickets for the Selma, North Carolina historic house tour. We plan to cheer and wave at the Pine Level Christmas parade.

The focus is on prayer. Four friends have been widowed; two others have faced operations to extend their lives. And there are so many other private concerns, as well as thanksgivings to ponder during advent.

The focus is on Christ. A visitor told me last week that her family doesn’t celebrate Christmas any more. Her words sounded extreme. She is Christian. But when I think about it, the message is that journey to the cross begins now. The outrageous consumer free-for-all has obscured that. Even the nativity, once considered sacred, is mocked by Coke cans, zombies and shelter dogs.

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A neighbor’s three wooden crosses, draped in white linen remind me: The journey is beginning.